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NIKE Camp registration information has been mailed out to prospects all over the country and already many are beginning to return their forms and confirm their spots for one of the 12 NIKE Camps across the country. Today the Blog continues to take a look at some of the top returnees...
*Last year at the NIKE Camp in Ann Arbor, Michigan commit and Top 100 prospect Brandon Graham, a linebacker, took home Camp MVP honors, but the player that NIKE Camp linebacker coach Chris Gizzi couldn't stop talking about afterwards wasn't Graham, but rising junior Chris Colasanti out of Bloomfield Hills (Mich.) Brother Rice. Gizzi raved about Colasanti's toughness, physical skills and feel for the position, and noted that he thought he'd be one of the best in next year's class at his position. Fast forward one year ahead and that prediction looks right on as Colasanti is coming off a huge junior season in which he totaled 153 tackles and four sacks, earning all-state honors and helping Brother Rice to a state title. Rock solid at 6-2, 235 pounds, Colasanti, who recorded a 71.01 SPARQ Rating at last year's NIKE Camp, figures to push the 90 mark this spring with a best of 4.63 in the 40 and a 380-pound bench press. Penn State is the latest school to offer Colasanti a full ride, joining 10 others - Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State, Boston College, Stanford, Arizona State, UCLA, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan - who've already offered him prior to the spring evaluation period. Colasanti currently lists Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and BC as his top schools, and he'll push for top SPARQ Rating and Camp MVP honors at the May 5th NIKE Camp in Columbus.
*Several of the top recruits in Virginia this year will be quarterbacks, and while Richmond Varina's Davon Morgan does play under center for the Blue Devils, his future is likely on the other side of the ball in college, and that future is looking bright after a huge 2005. Morgan earned all-state honors last fall at free safety, totaling 30 tackles and nine interceptions, four of which he returned for scores. He also did his fair share at QB last fall, helping Varina to a 9-1 record by accounting for 1,907 total yards and 27 touchdowns by both land and air. Morgan, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of another athletic Varina QB, Penn State's Michael Robinson, has already received written offers from Virginia Tech and Michigan for his defensive skills, and he lists the Hokies and Wolverines as his favorites followed by Florida State, USC and Miami. Morgan, a great competitor who competed fully at the NIKE Camp a year ago despite just having his foot taken out of a cast that same week, will attend the May 6th NIKE Camp this spring in State College.
*A player who hopes to rival Morgan as the top defensive back at the May 6th camp is Philadelphia (Pa.) Northeast Catholic's Daryl Robinson. This 5-10, 170 pound cornerback is built for speed, with a best of 4.47 in the 40, and he put his speed to good use a year ago. Last fall Robinson registered 65 tackles and five picks on defense, while also contributing over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 10 scores on offense, earning all-league and all-city honors. UConn and West Virginia have both sent Robinson an early offer, and he likes those two schools along with Rutgers, Penn State, Illinois and Virginia. Robinson will attend the NIKE Camp in State College on the 6th of May.
*The first NIKE Camp is rapidly approaching, as the 2006 tour kicks off April 9th in Miami on the campus of the Miami Hurricanes. South Florida's best will be on hand that day and one of the top players to watch will be 5-11, 200 pound Royal Palm Beach running back Zacchaeus Brown. Brown didn't have eye-opening numbers as a junior, rushing 83 times for 654 yards and seven touchdowns in nine game, splitting time with Brandon Pendergrass to form a Thunder & Lightning-type duo, and his combination of size, strength and 4.5 speed has already drawn an early offer from West Virginia. Brown lists the Mountaineers amongst his early favorites along with Pitt, Miami, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. Both he and Pendergrass will be looking to show their stuff at the year's first NIKE Camp on April 9th at "The U."
*The Class of 2007 is one of the strongest in memory for the State of Michigan, and the class is particularly strong at defensive back. One of the state's best is 6-0, 190 pound Derek Knight, a strong safety with the physicality and toughness of a linebacker but the speed of a defensive back. Knight had a huge junior year at Detroit Renaissance from his rover position, totaling 148 tackles, 10 sacks, two interceptions and forcing five fumbles with his hard-hitting style on his way to junior all-state, all-metro and all-city honors. Not just a bell-ringer, Knight's speed is also evident when looking at his track resume, as he posted bests of 11.0 in the 100 meter and 21.9 in the 200 meter as a sophomore this past spring. Knight has seen five offers come in during March, from Miami-Ohio, Michigan State, Indiana, Bowling Green and Toledo, and lists those schools as some of his favorites along with Alabama, Nebraska, Iowa and Notre Dame. Knight will attend the May 5th NIKE Camp in Columbus.
*6-5, 255 pound two-way lineman Anthony Mihota recently picked up his first offer from the Marshall Thundering Herd. Mihota earned all-area and all-district honors as a junior last fall at Fredericksburg (Va.) Massaponax, totaling 66 tackles (fourth-best on his team) while grading out a 86% and recording 50 pancakes at offensive guard. Mihota would prefer to play on the defensive side of the ball in college, and grew up a West Virginia fan. He currently likes Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland and the Mountaineers. Mihota carries a 3.2 GPA and has scored a 1430 on the SAT. He'll attend the May 6th NIKE Camp in State College.
*Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles is traditionally one of the strongest small school programs in the Sunshine State, and that doesn't figure to change next year as the Bulldogs return a strong senior class. One of the headliners of that senior class will be hard-working 6-2, 270 pound center Chance Raines. Raines has been part of two state title teams at Bolles and works tirelessly to ensure that 2006 brings a third ring, spending two hours everyday in the offseason in the weightroom and another hour on agility drills. The work has paid off individually, as Raines now boasts bests of 5.2 in the 40 and a 330-pound bench, and also recently picked up his first scholarship offer from Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets, childhood favorite Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and UCLA top Raines' list of colleges early on. He'll attend the May 20th NIKE Camp in Gainesville.
If you are a coach or parent that would like to get a top junior involved with the NIKE Camps, NIKE Combines or Elite 11 Quarterback events, or featured on the Junior to Watch Blog, email Brian Stumpf if you are located in the Eastern or Central part of the country (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Greg Biggins (email@example.com) if you are in the West.